I need a quote on the scar in Lord of the Flies and its symbolism.  Anything that has to do with the boys destroying the island is good but specifically the scar.

2 Answers

susan3smith's profile pic

susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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You are probably having a difficult time finding a quote because the scar is not related to the boys destroying the island.  The scar is the path of burned island made by the plane as it went down and the storm dragged it into the ocean.  The boys destroy the island by fire.  The two ideas are somewhat related because the destruction on the island is caused by humans--both human error and malice. 

The scar made by the plane is a constant reminder of why the boys are on the island.  They were being moved to safety, away from the world war that made where they lived unsafe--most likely the German bombing of London during World War 2.  The scar ties the violence that occurs on the island to that of the world as a whole.  The boys' inability to get along on the island reflects the adults' inability to get along as well. 

The first reference to the scar is as follows:

"When we was coming down I looked through one of them windows.  I saw the other part of the plane.  There were flames coming out of it.""

He looked up and down the scar.

"And this is what the cabin done." 

andrewnightingale's profile pic

andrewnightingale | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A scar generally refers to a mark, blemish or indentation left on the skin or an object after it has been damaged. In the case of the island in Lord of the Flies, it refers to the mark left by the planes' fuselage when it crashes after being shot down. It is later washed away by the sea.

The first reference to the scar is found at the beginning of chapter one when Ralph is introduced as "the boy with fair hair":

All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat.

The scar is quite extensive, and the word "smashed" indicates a violent encounter that caused damage. The story is set during a war, and the boys have been evacuated when their plane is damaged. The pilots are killed and the plane crashes onto the island. Most of the boys (as far as we can ascertain) survive. Ralph appears to be quite pleased, and when Piggy sees him he is standing on his head.

In the middle of the scar he stood on his head and grinned at the reversed fat boy.

When the two start speaking Piggy attempts to explain what has happened and provides a brief explanation of the crash and how they came to be there:

He looked up and down the scar.
“And this is what the cabin done.”

Golding's numerous references to the scar emphasize its significance. The scar is symbolic of a disruption in nature. The peaceful, calm and probably pristine nature of the island has been damaged by the sudden and violent arrival of humans. It suggests that man's intervention causes harm.   

The presence of a scar also suggests that the damage is permanent.The scar will never disappear and will become an indelible indication of the harm that was done. Although the forest and plants will heal, there will always be evidence of what happened.

Furthermore, the scar foreshadows further disruption and destruction. The boys, for example, destroy a large section of the forest when their first signal fire goes out of control. At the end of the novel, a fire rages on the island and, ironically, becomes a signal for rescue. The boys are saved from their own destruction and that of the island. Other examples of destruction to come are the bloodthirsty hunts conducted by Jack and his hunters; the boys' general loss of civilized behavior; the adoption of savagery; and, eventually, the deaths of Simon and Piggy.